Parents of I-495 victim seek tougher workplace safety rules: Parents of I-495 victim seek tougher workplace safety rules
Jun 03, 2009 (The Eagle-Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- LONDONDERRY, N.H. -- A year after their son was killed on a construction job on Interstate 495, Christopher and Janet Augeri are campaigning for new rules to improve workplace safety.
The new law, dubbed Rob's Law, would require trucks to be outfitted with rear motion sensors and other safety devices, including day/night rearview cameras. The technology is readily available on the market and could have prevented the fatal accident of June 3, 2008, Janet Augeri said.
Robert Augeri of Londonderry died on his 31st birthday when a Mack dump truck backed into him in the closed left travel lane on Interstate 495 near Merrimack Street (Exit 44). He was working on the highway paving job for Brox Industries of Dracut, Mass., which contracted the job from the Massachusetts Highway Department.
The Mack truck was driven by Robert McCann, 25, of Methuen, a subcontractor employed by Lewis Maynard Trucking. McCann and his passenger, Christina DeForte, 23, also of Methuen, were not hurt.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited both companies.
Lewis Maynard Trucking was cited on Nov. 7, for a serious violation and ordered to pay a $1,500 fine for failing to start and maintain an effective safety program. The company agreed on Dec. 3 to correct the violation and pay a reduced fine of $900.
Brox Industries was cited by OSHA on Oct. 30, for failing to ensure that its safety program dealt with directing traffic in areas where workers were on foot and for failing to make sure employees were properly trained. On Nov. 24, the company agreed to correct the violations. OSHA reduced the original $15,000 fine to $10,000.
Augeri left his wife, Kimberly, and four young children, Janet, 12, Anthony, 6, Brooklynn, 2, and Vincenzo, 1.
"He was such a valuable person," his mother said, "and I don't want him to have died in vain. If it just saves one person, it will be worth it." Augeri, of Lowell, started going door to door with her petition two months ago. She is trying to persuade lawmakers in New Hampshire and Massachusetts to pass Rob's Law. Ultimately, the hope is the law would become a federal mandate, she said.
Augeri said Londonderry people have been wonderfully supportive, but the family is still struggling with their loss.
"Even yesterday, Brooky (Brooklyn) said, 'Daddy's mowing the lawn. He'll be here soon,'" she said.
The little girl saw a neighbor with a lawn mower and hoped it was her father.
"It's just so hard," Augeri said. "The children are taking this hard. My husband and I are just so lost." Want to help? To see more of The Eagle-Tribune or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.eagletribune.com/. Copyright (c) 2009, The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services. For reprints, email [email protected], call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.
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